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The long, sad history of Ole Miss quarterbacks in Tuscaloosa

Chad Kelly is set to make his first start in Bryant-Denny Stadium, a place that has not been historically hospitable to Rebels QBs.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Somewhere between three and four hours after Chad Kelly takes the field Saturday night in Tuscaloosa, he will become a member of one of two groups. The first group is composed of every Ole Miss quarterback but two. The second group's only two members are Mark Young and John Darnell.

In 1988, Young and Darnell (mostly Young, as Darnell played sparingly) quarterbacked Ole Miss to a 22-12 win over Alabama in Tuscaloosa. It was the first time, and remains the only time, Ole Miss won in Tuscaloosa in what is now 27 attempts.

Since Young and Darnell proved that it could be done, 19 players (almost all of them quarterbacks!) have thrown passes for Ole Miss in Bryant-Denny, and most all had what we could generously call "not a real good time." Chad Kelly will become the 20th (and because Hugh Freeze gonna Hugh Freeze, someone else will surely be number 21) and who knows whether his experience will be better than most.

Of course, "better than most" won't take much. Because I enjoy horribly mismanaging my free time, I combed the record books to get an idea of how bad it has been for Ole Miss quarterbacks when they play in Tuscaloosa.

Granted, some were bad no matter where they played (RESTRAINING MYSELF FROM NAMING NAMES BUT YOU KNOW WHO), but what I found should be shielded from the eyes of the young and impressionable. We don't need the the sparks in their eyes reduced to cold, dead embers just yet. There will be plenty of time for that later in life.

Below, you'll find the year, result, stats for anyone who threw a pass, and a few comments because I can't help myself. I started with 1988 to show that you don't have to be great, just don't do anything really (REALLY) dumb. Plus, going back further than that would have only fueled the depression.

1988 (22-12 W)

Mark Young: 18-of-39 (46.1%), 169 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 7 rushes, -34 yards

John Darnell: 1-of-2 (50%), 0 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 4 rushes, -2 yards

The true crazy stat in this game was certainly not a Billy Brewer quarterback completed a pass for zero yards, but that Alabama attempted 11 total passes and completed none. Even back then, Alabama just needed to RUN THE DANG BALL, PAAWWWLLLLL.

1992 (31-10 L)

Russ Shows: 7-of-19 (36.8%), 93 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 4 rushes, 3 yards

Lawrence Adams: 1-of-3 (33.3%), 9 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 3 rushes, -9 yards

Now THERE'S a Bill Brewer quarterback performance.

1994 (21-10 L)

Josh Nelson: 8-of-19 (47.1%), 63 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 5 rushes, -3 yards

To demonstrate how we should praise the heavens that things at Ole Miss are not run as they were in 1994, I remind you of the 1994 season. The Ole Miss administration at the time, in its good ol' boy dipshit wisdom, decided that the best thing to do after firing Billy Brewer was to let Joe Lee Dunn serve as interim head coach for an ENTIRE SEASON.

1996 (37-0 L)

Stewart Patridge: 10-of-22 (45.4%), 132 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 4 rushes, -32 yards

Paul Head: 0-of-3 (0%), 0 TD, 0 INT, 0 rushes

I believe that this game and the '97 game were both contests in which Freddie Kitchens, Alabama's quarterback, outweighed 75% of Ole Miss' defensive line.

1998 (20-17 OT L)

Romaro Miller: 22-of-36 (61.1%), 230 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 6 rushes, 40 yards

Reagan King: 1-of-1 (100%), 20 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 0 rushes

I attended this game and it's a miracle I attended ANY other Ole Miss games in Tuscaloosa after this one. This day saw Ole Miss get inside the Alabama 20-yard line six times and score only 17 points, courtesy of two Donal Juneau field goal misses (32 and 19 yards!) and failing on a fourth and goal because FIELD GOAL KICKER.

On a positive note, it was the first time I saw a kicker ever kick a spiral tighter than most quarterbacks throw.

2000 (45-7 L)

Romaro MIller: 15-of-31 (48.4%), 127 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT, 2 rushes, 7 yards

Eli Manning: 5-of-9 (55.5%), 36 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 1 rush, -1 yard

Based on a rough estimate generated by me, I'd say I've spent a good three to four years of my life screaming about this game and David Cutcliffe. While I lack the strength to give you a taste of that here, I would like to remind you that this Cutcliffe team was destroyed by a 3-8 Alabama team.

2002 (42-7)

Eli Manning: 18-of-32 (56.2%), 219 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT, 4 rushes, -34 yards

Even though I wasted my time and money to be there, I feel no anger over this. It was year four of the David Cutcliffe era and I knew what was going to happen.

2004 (28-7 L)

Ethan Flatt: 5-of-12 (41.7%), 63 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 0 rushes

Micheal Spurlock: 5-of-15 (33.3%), 54 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 2 rushes, -11 yards

Best part of this was Alabama later had to vacate the win due to their cheatin' ways. VICARIOUS VICTORIES THROUGH VACATED WINS WOOOOOOOOOOOOO.

2006 (23-20 OT L)

Brent Schaeffer: 13-of-20 (65%), 163 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 6 rushes, 37 yards

Rob Park: 1-of-1 (100%), 5 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 0 rushes

ANOTHER VICARIOUS VICTORY DUE TO VACATED WINS. More importantly, Brent Schaeffer hitting 65% of his passes in Ed Orgeron's vaunted USC offense? I WAS THERE AND HAVE NO RECOLLECTION.

2008 (24-20 L)

Jevan Snead: 16-of-31 (51.6%) 192 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 5 rushes, 23 yards

Rob Park 1-of-1 (100%), 9 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 0 rushes

In a tribute to my limited ability to remember the things that cause me severe pain, I opted not to attend this game, which means I missed seeing the infamous Enrique Davis run in person. However, I also got to miss Houston Nutt spotting Alabama a 24-3 lead.

But Alabama found out, for a second straight Tuscaloosa game, you can't sleep on Rob Park!

2010 (23-10 L)

Jeremiah Masoli: 18-of-40 (45%), 110 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 10 rushes, 40 yards

Whoever didn't stop me from going to this game should be thrown in jail.

(checks ledger)

(it reads "Gray")

(voluntarily goes to prison)

2012 (33-14 L)

Bo Wallace: 15-of-26 (57.5%), 123 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT, 8 rushes, -14 yards

Barry Brunetti: 4-of-6 (66.7%), 15 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 2 rushes, 1 yard

Randall Mackey: 0-of-1 (0%), 0 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

"And lo, it shall come to pass that a non-quarterback shall be called upon to throw an ill-advised pass at the worst possible moment, and a lesson shall never be learned."

2013 (25-0 L)

Bo Wallace: 17-of-31 (54.8%), 159 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, 12 rushes, 5 yards

Laquon Treadwell: 0-of-1 (0%), 0 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT

What's so delicious about this Treadwell pass is that THE VERY NEXT WEEK, DESPITE ITS FAILURE, we ran it against Auburn from the Auburn 5-yard line. You will be shocked to remember it didn't work then either.


And mercifully, that is the end of the list. Shout-out to the SEC for letting us play two straight years in Tuscaloosa. HOW ELSE WE GONNA PRECIATE THE TIDE?

Anyway, all of those numbers come out to a total of:

200-400 (50%), 1,971 yards, 7 TD, 13 INT, 75 rushes, 16 yards

If those numbers look familiar, it's because we've all seen what a Sylvester Croom quarterback can do in a season.

So what did we learn from this exercise other than Rob Park is the best Ole Miss passer to ever play in Tuscaloosa? It has rarely gone well for anyone in an Ole Miss jersey who attempts a pass in Bryant-Denny.

Chad Kelly, from what little we've seen, appears to have as good of a chance as anyone to throw up some numbers unlike the ones you just read (or scanned because UGH WAS THAT A LONG LIST). He'll need plenty of help from his offensive line, which did a pretty solid job of giving Dr. Bo room to operate in Oxford last year, but preventing disaster will rest upon Kelly.